Patristic Tradition

Love among married ( 13.03.2009 )

- Abbess, did you write a greeting for the wedding to Demetrius?

- Yes, Elder.

- Bring me the wedding greeting, please, I want to add something: “Christ and the Most Holy Mother of God may be with you always. I give you my blessing, Demetrius, to quarrel with all the world, except with Maria! The same applies for Maria!” Lets us see whether he will understand my words, then.

A man asked me once: “What is the thing which most strongly connects a man to his wife?” “The gratitude” - I answered. They love each other, because they are grateful to each other. The wife gives confidence and obedience to her husband. The man gives security to his wife, because he can protect her. The wife is the master in the home, but she serves very much in the home. The man is the master of the house, but he mostly works hard for the benefit of the house.

The love among the married has to be honest, so they could comfort each other, and to perform their spiritual duty. For they to live in harmony, they have to build pure love in the foundations of their lives, a continuous love, a love that is based on spiritual virtue, on sacrifice, the one must always be on the side of the other one, to understand him/her, to suffer for him/her. And, as he receives his partner in his tormented heart, then he receives Christ Himself in his heart, Who fulfils it with His indescribable joy and sweetness.      

When love exists between the partners, then they are close and together despite the distance between, because the love of Christ cannot be separated by any distance. But when the partners do not have love to connect them, they are far from each other, no matter how close physically they are. That is why they must make their maximal efforts to keep their love during their entire life, to sacrifice one to another.  

Physical love connects people who long for earthly values of life, only in an illusory manner. This lasts only to the moment when such earthly (bodily) abilities exist, and such love separates people when their bodily abilities fade away, and then people downfall.

On the other hand, when exists a real, spiritual love, among partners, even if one of the partners loses his earthly (bodily) abilities, then it does not separate them, but unites them more strongly.

When there is only a physical love, for example, when the wife finds out that her man looked at another woman, she throws poison to his eyes and blinds him. And opposite, when there is a pure love between the partners, in this case, the wife suffers together with her husband, even more, striving to help him to return on the right road. So, the God’s grace visits them in such moments.

Patience goes together with love. To be patient with your partner, you should feel pain because of him. And I see how the family is saved with patience. I saw beasts that became lambs. With hope in God, everything is developing in a right way, and in benefit of our soul.   

When I was happened to be in the Stomia Monastery, I have seen a woman in Konitza, and her face was shinning. She had five children. I remembered later who she was. Her husband was a carpenter, often working together with my carpenter. However, whenever some of his customers would ask him, even in one word, for example: “Master Janis, couldn’t we do this or that in this way?”, he would become a beast. “Who are you to teach me how to do this or that?” – he would reply. He would throw and break the tools and would leave the workshop furious. He was ignoring his job, he was breaking things in the houses of people, and you may imagine what he was doing in his own house!

The woman that I’m talking about was the wife of Janis. We can’t imagine to spend even a day with such a man, but poor she, she lived with him for years. Every single day she was facing torture, but she was facing it with a lot of goodness and patience. So, as I knew how the situation in her house was, I’ve asked her once when I’ve met her: “What is craftsman Janis doing? Has he got enough work to do?” “Sometimes there is enough, sometimes not, so he waits a bit for job”- she would answer. “And, how do you manage the life?” “We can manage good, Father!” – she would always answer. And she would say that honestly and cordially. She was not furious for her man was crashing the tools, and the tools were expensive, neither she was furious for she was forced to go and serve in the houses and properties of the other people, to provide a simple survival to her family.

Can you realise now, how great were her goodness and patience! She had never accused her husband! That is why God gave her His grace. That is why her face was shinning. She raised all her children, and all of them became very good young men. She succeeded to keep her children with her.     


Elder Paisios from Mount Athos